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the bourbon had found its way to the brain and was

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Unformatted text preview: desert for a month. A spider made its way down a thick web along the window. Dust was half an inch thick on the sills. "I guess they're losin' their touch," he said, gazing down at the excitement. "They?" I was almost afraid to ask. "The Padgitts." He said this with a certain smugness, then allowed it to hang in the air for my benefit. "You're sure it's the Padgitts?" I asked. Baggy thought he knew everything, and he was right about half the time. He smirked and grunted, took another sip, then said, "They've been burnin' buildings forever. It's one of their scams—insurance fraud. They've made a bloody fortune off insurance companies." A quick sip. "Odd, though, that they would use gasoline. Your more talented arsonists stay away from gasoline because it's easily detected. You know that?" "No." "True. A good fire marshal can smell gasoline within minutes after the blaze is out. Gasoline means arson. Arson means no insurance payoffs." A sip. "Of course, in this case, they probably wanted you to know it's arson. Makes sense, doesn't it?" Nothing made sense at that moment. I was too confused to say much. Baggy was content to do the talking. "Come to think of it, that's probably the reason it wasn't detonated. They wanted you to see it. If it went off, then the county wouldn't have theTimes, which might upset some folks. Might make some other folks happy." "Thanks." "Anyway, that explains it better. It was a subtle act of intimidation." "Subtle?" "Yes, compared to what could've been. Believe me, those guys know how to burn buildings. You were lucky." I noticed how he had quickly disassociated himself from the paper. It was "I" who was lucky, not "we." The bourbon had found its way to the brain and was loosening the tongue. "About three years ago, maybe four, there was a large fire at one of their lumber mills, the o...
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